Fraud Victim Lodges Complaint with Govt

DENPASAR

An Australian woman who claims she was defrauded by a fellow citizen in a villa investment scam lodged a formal complaint to the Bali Assembly on Monday, saying no action had been taken on an earlier police report.

Larayne Birthisel, 54, claims to have lost A$115,000 (US$125,000) after responding to an advert on a local property and immigration services website last year. The ad offered investment packages in three rental villas in Sanur.

Birthisel made the required payment to another Australian, a man identified by his initials as GMR, but later realised she had been scammed and had received no title to the properties.

She lodged a formal report with Bali Police in September 2010, but expressing frustration at the lack of action, on Monday she visited the Bali government’s Denpasar headquarters to discuss her case.

Birthisel was accompanied by her lawyer, I Nyoman Nadayana, who detailed the case to members of the assembly’s Commission I.

“On 20 September 2010, we reported this case. But to this day there have been no significant developments. In fact, GMR has so far not been arrested,” Nadayana said.

Representatives of the Bali Police, the Immigration Department and the Bali Prosecutors’ office attended the meeting.

Committee chairman Made Arjaya said he would take steps to ensure that the case was soon resolved.

“We hope the police will take steps to examine this case. It seems that many people have been scammed using this method,” he said, stressing that more evidence was required.

Arjaya said that a special committee would be set up to investigate the alleged scam.

“We will soon form this special committee and we will get right to the bottom of this scandal. Before long we’ll move to the data-collection stage,” he said.

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